Chemically reinforced conditioned courtship in Drosophila: responses of wild-type and the dunce, amnesiac and don giovanni mutants

J Neurogenet. 1986 Mar;3(2):111-23. doi: 10.3109/01677068609106898.


To test the hypothesis that associative learning is the basis for conditioned courtship, male Drosophila melanogaster were paired with virgin females in the presence of quinine, known to be a negative reinforcer in a learning paradigm independent of courtship. Such "experienced" wild-type males failed to court virgin females and remained refractory to them for 1-2 h. But experienced males from the learning-defective strain, dunce, continued to court females at high levels; and experienced males from the retention-defective strain, amnesiac, failed to demonstrate the wild-type refractory period. Finally, males from the don giovanni strain, defective with respect to fertilized-female conditioning, were conditioned by presentation of virgin females and quinine. Courtship-depressing effects of cis-vaccenyl alcohol, which can be recovered from fertilized females, were confirmed, but no evidence for its role as a negative reinforcer of male courtship was obtained.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Psychological / drug effects
  • Courtship
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Quinine / pharmacology


  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • 11-octadecenoyl alcohol
  • Quinine